Wednesday, 9 February 2011

Colin's Eleven - Lotus XI

Today's photographs by Ed Arnaudin conclude our coverage of Race 1 at Thompson, CT on July 20th 1958 with a look at the winning Lotus XI of Floyd Aaskov.

Approximately 270 Lotus XI's were produced from 1956 to 1958 including the Series 2, often unofficially referred to as the XIII. the Lotus Eleven Register believes around 200 have survived.

The XI could be built to accept a variety of engines most like Floyd Aaskov's seen here were fitted with a 4 cylinder 1098 cc /67 cui Coventry Climax engine. Like the Lotus IX we looked at yesterday the bodywork was penned by Frank Costain and crafted by Lotus neighbours in Hornsey, Williams & Pritchard.

It is believed the Lotus XI model was driven to over 148 victories in 1956, additionally Stirling Moss set a class G closed circuit lap record at Monza of over 143 mph in a 67 cui XI with a special cockpit fairing and Peter Jopp and Reg Bicknell took class G honours and 7th overall at Le Mans although the boss, Colin Chapman, driving the larger engine Class E XI having survived a miserably wet night was disappointed to retire while running second in the 1500 cc 91.5 cui class to a Porsche with engine failure.

Legend has it that the XI was so close to Colin Chapman's affections that early Lotus road models were given names evocative of the number Eleven,hence the Elite, Elise, Elan.

Floyd Aaskov, in the #12 Lotus XI seen taking the starting flag in second place here is known to have raced from at least 1957 to 1968, records indicate he may have started racing in a '57 Mercedes 300 SL which seems a tad fanciful though no doubt stranger things have happened. Running competitively in the GM class Lotus XI until 1962 he then moved on to the pre Can Am USRRC series with larger sports cars. Records indicate Floyds last season was 1968 when he drove a Camaro in the Trans Am series, this may not be the complete picture on his career, if you know different please chime in below !

The cars I and others have been able to discern on the grid thus far are :-

Row 1 #15 R Nerney, Abarth 207A Spider, #12 Floyd Aaskov, Lotus X1
Row 2 #92 Nick Fallone Jomar MK 2 #28 Ray Saidel, Jomar
Row 3 #113 Paul Bleustein, Cooper, #26 Len Bastrup, Lotus IX
Row 4 # ????? #27 P Sagan, Fiat Abarth 750 GT Zagato
Row 5 #95 J Iglehart, Nardi MD4 Spyder #46 J Mull D B Panhard # ?????? #?????

Interestingly one source has a #150 Lotus XI anchoring the entry list for this meeting scheduled to be driven by one and only 'Walter Cronkite'.

Thanks as always to Ed and Steve Arnaudin for the fascinating photographs, to Terry O'Neil for the results to everyone on the Fuzzy Longshot Identity thread at TNF including Vitesse2 and raceanouncer2003 for their contributions. I believe that is the way it was.

Hope you have enjoyed today's eleventh hour edition of 'Gettin' a lil' psycho on tyres' and that you'll join me again tomorrow for a look at a seriously old timer at Bridgehampton in 1957. Don't forget to come back now !